Asian Stocks Pare Weekly Gain as Toyota Drags on Trump Threat

  • Regional gauge starts year headed for best week since Sept.
  • U.S. jobs data later today seen giving hint on rate hike path

Trump Tells Toyota Not to Build Plant in Mexico

Asian equities pared gains for the week as a drop in Japanese shares outweighed advances in the broader region before key U.S. jobs data.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.3 percent as of 3:27 p.m. in Hong Kong, with eight out of 11 industry groups falling, led by a gauge of consumer discretionary stocks, as automakers fell. Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. contributed most to the decline after U.S. President-elect Donald Trump threatened to tax the company over its Mexico factory plan. The Topix index fell for the first time this week after the yen jumped 1.6 percent against the dollar on Thursday, its biggest gain in five months.

Stocks in Asia have rallied in the first week of 2017 and are set for their best weekly performance in three months as expansion shown in manufacturing data from U.S., Europe to China boosted investors’ optimism over global growth. Friday’s U.S. employment report may provide investors with an indication of the pace of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve.

“Thursday had all been about movements in the currency market and latest slide in the USD should keep the market’s focus unchanged for a second day,” writes Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte, in a note Friday. “The main focus will however be on U.S. December’s NFP release today.”

Summary

  • Japan’s Topix index -0.2% as yen trades at 116.20 versus greenback
    • Gauge still posted its best week in a month, rising 2.3% and extending a rally that began late last year on expectations of swift U.S. rate hikes and a weaker yen.
  • New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 Index closed -0.1% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index little changed; South Korea’s Kospi index +0.4%
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index little changed, the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index -0.1%; Shanghai Composite -0.4%
    • China’s central bank strengthened its currency fixing by the most since a peg to the greenback was dismantled in July 2005, following a tumble in the dollar
  • Vietnam’s VN Index +1%; Malaysia’s FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index +0.5%; Philippine Composite Index +0.5%; Singapore’s Straits Times Index +0.2%; India’s S&P BSE Sensex Index -0.2%

For more Asia stock markets news:
Trump Hits Toyota on Mexico as Car Criticism Spreads to Japanese
China’s Epic Short Squeeze Is Back as Yuan Rally Crushes Bears
Li Ka-Shing Sees Hong Kong Property Prices Rising Amid Curbs

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